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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
July 3, 2003


Closure of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM)

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously today to allow a final three-month continuation of the United Nations Iraq Kuwait Observation Mission (SCR 1490). Accordingly, the mandate is scheduled to end on October 6, 2003, bringing to an end 12 years of UN peacekeeping along both the Iraq-Kuwait demilitarized zone and the Khawr Abd Allah waterway. In its final three months, the Observation Mission will focus on reducing its remaining staff, liquidating its assets, and will bring to an end the logistical services it had temporarily rendered to UN organizations operating in the area.

Security Council Resolution 689 of April 1991 established the Observation Mission following the forced withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait and the establishment of an internationally recognized boundary between Iraq and Kuwait. Since that time, its mission has been to monitor and deter violations of the land and sea boundaries between Iraq and Kuwait. In March 2003, preceding Coalition Forces operations against the Saddam Hussein regime, the U.N. Secretary-General suspended the Obervation Mission's mandate, effectively ending UN patrol and observation operations along the Iraq-Kuwait border.

A model peacekeeping operation, the Obeservation Mission served for many years as a reminder to the Saddam Hussein regime of the international community's commitment to act decisively against Iraqi aggression. The Observation Mission also bears the distinction of being the first UN peacekeeping mission in which military observers from all five permanent members of the UN Security Council (France, Great Britain, China, Russia and the United States) worked side-by-side. Currently, the Observation Mission's headquarters is located in Kuwait City and consists of a reduced staff of 11 military officers and 143 civilians.

Released on July 3, 2003

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